BP to invest $1bn in South Africa

Image: The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

CEO of BP Southern Africa, Priscillah Mabelane announced that the oil and gas company would invest $1 billion in South Africa over the next five years.

Making the announcement today, Mabelane said over a quarter of the $1 billion would be set aside to upgrade the SAPREF refinery to produce lower sulphur diesel.

With a capacity of 180,000 barrels per day, the SAPREF refinery is the largest in the country and is a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell (50 percent) and BPSA (50 percent).

With the upgrade driven by new rules demanding lower fuel sulphur content and changing customer preferences for cleaner diesel, Mabelane said it would also make “sure the refinery can meet the new specifications in terms of low sulphur and Marpol regulations.”

With talks between refinery operators and the government on recovering costs from upgrading work needed to provide cleaner fuel in South Africa still ongoing a decade later, Mabelane told Reuters: “From an industry perspective we are pushing very hard to ensure that there is policy clarity because we have been on this journey very long.”

The SAPREF refinery, located in Durban is scheduled to be closed for upgrades from May to June 2019.

Beyond the upgrades, Mabelane said BPSA was looking to expand its footprint with it looking at opportunities in Mozambique where it is the second largest oil company.